Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Serving in Staunton

Elderly woman in a nursing home

When we move our family members to a nursing home or assisted living facility, we’re entrusting their health and safety to the facility’s owners, administrators, and staff members. Unfortunately, far too many seniors do not receive the attentive and respectful care they deserve and instead suffer neglect or worse at nursing homes. 

Whether it’s through intentional harm or neglect, many nursing homes residents find themselves enduring painful injuries. If you or someone in your family is the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, the Staunton nursing home abuse attorneys at the Kendall Law Firm are ready to fight for justice on your behalf.

At Kendall Law Firm, we have more than 30 years of legal experience handling personal injury claims. We also have a proven record of success, having recovered millions of dollars for our clients. No matter how complicated your case may seem, we can evaluate the situation and help you understand your options. Get a free case review today by calling our Staunton office or visiting our contact page.

Nursing Homes in Staunton

Staunton is a charming city and attracts many retirees due to its location in the Shenandoah Valley and moderate climate. As a result, nursing homes and assisted living facilities have sprung up throughout the area. Some of the nursing home facilities in the Staunton area include:

One would hope that the increased number of senior living facilities in this part of Virginia would mean they are providing quality care to their residents. However, a 2017 report from local TV news station WTKR shows that dozens of nursing homes across the state have faced serious fines in recent years. The violations include 176 counts of either failing to screen job applicants to identify those with a record of abusing patients or failing to report and investigate allegations of patient abuse. 

While there are undoubtedly many compassionate and dedicated people working in Virginia nursing homes, chronic understaffing issues and lax hiring practices often mean patients are not getting the care and attention they need.

What Abuse Means in Nursing Homes

There are many different kinds of abuse and neglect that can happen to a resident of a nursing home or assisted living facility. The more common forms of neglect include:

  • Physical abuse – Physical abuse is when someone at a nursing home uses physical force or restraint against a resident, causing them pain and harm. The abuse may be an intentional act, such as a punch or slap, or something less blatant such as being too forceful while trying to restrain a patient. Some of the most common examples of physical abuse are:
    • Residents being pushed or shoved
    • Residents being overly forcefully restrained
    • Residents being slapped or hit
    • Residents suffering severe beatings from other residents or staff
    • Residents being dragged
  • Neglect – Neglect occurs when an action or failure to act deprives a resident of their normal standard of care. This includes things like failing to provide for a patient’s bathroom needs, not changing soiled clothes or bedding, not turning the patient to prevent bedsores and failing to make sure a resident is properly fed. Signs of neglect include bedsores, untreated injuries, and generally unsanitary conditions.
  • Sexual abuse – Sexual abuse includes any unwanted sexual touching or forced nudity as well as rape. This includes undressing or bathing a patient in front of others. Elderly victims of sexual abuse can contract sexually transmitted infections as well as mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Financial abuse – Because many residents of nursing homes may be cognitively impaired in some way, they’re more vulnerable to being exploited for financial gain. Financial abuse can involve identity theft as well as things like stealing or concealing funds from a resident, forging signatures to add caretakers to legal documents, coercing residents to add names to bank accounts, and manipulating residents into giving them large gifts.
  • Emotional abuse – Emotional abuse involves causing psychological harm or mental harm to a resident. Examples include taunting or humiliating a resident, forcibly isolating a resident, leaving them alone for long periods, criticizing a resident, and belittling them in other ways. Though less obvious than physical abuse, emotional abuse can be just as harmful to residents, causing them to act out, develop depression or anxiety, or even regress to a child-like state.
  • Fall injuries – While some residents may suffer accidental fall injuries, many are not properly evaluated for their risk of a fall injury. A nursing home may not have protocols in place to minimize the chance of a fall. If there’s a pattern of failing to prevent a patient from enduring fall injuries, it could constitute abuse.

Nursing Home Patients Have Enumerated RightsInjured Elder man in a nursing home

If you suspect someone in your family has been abused at a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s important to know that residents have specific rights guaranteed under state law. These rights include:

  • The right for the patient to handle their own money or have access to their financial records
  • The right to dignity and to have a patient’s wants considered when thinking about what’s best for them
  • The right to be free from physical or chemical restraints, unless there’s a medical necessity to protect the patient or others
  • The right to privacy concerning what mail a resident sends or receives
  • The right to freedom from mental or physical abuse

When nursing homes and assisted living facilities fail to uphold their patients’ rights, they may be held liable for the injuries that a patient sustains. However, many patients may have difficulty arguing on their own behalf because of physical or psychological impairments. In these cases, it’s up to the patient’s family and the legal system to protect them.

Proving a Nursing Home Is Negligent Can Be Difficult

There are a number of issues that make it a challenge to hold nursing homes and assisted living facilities accountable in neglect and abuse cases. The biggest issue is that in many cases, the resident has a limited ability to speak on their own behalf. Without direct testimony from the resident, their families and advocates have to use indirect means to prove the case, such as medical records, testimony from expert witnesses, and surveillance footage.

Another tactic many nursing homes will use to dodge blame for neglect is to shift the fault to the resident or their family. If the resident is injured in a fall, he or she may say it’s the patient’s fault because they broke the rules or didn’t ask for help when getting up. If the resident has been under constant sedation, the nursing home may argue that the resident’s family never asked about the treatment they were receiving or didn’t seem to care. 

It can also be hard to link a specific injury to the actions or neglect of a nursing home. However, with a good lawyer at your side, you stand a much better chance of holding a nursing home accountable for their poor behavior.

Let a Staunton Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Help

Any time a nursing home resident suffers abuse is a genuine tragedy. If this has happened to you or someone in your family, we want to help however we can. At Kendall Law Firm, we know the toll that abuse can take on older family members, and we know how to hold accountable those who caused the harm. We know the questions to ask.

Once we have the evidence we need, we’ll fight aggressively to see that your family gets just compensation for the injuries and indignities your loved one has suffered. We settle most cases out of court, but we’re not afraid to bring a case to trial to bring you and your loved justice.

If you or someone in your family has suffered nursing home abuse, we’ll help you hold the perpetrators of the abuse accountable. For a free initial consultation with a skilled and compassionate attorney, call the Staunton office of Kendall Law Firm or visit our contact page.

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